HARRISBURG, Pa., May 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Plans for fun on the Schuylkill River -- from canoes and kayaks slicing though headwaters to leisurely tube floats in urban environs -- is expected to draw hundreds of paddlers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts to a rebounding waterway named River of the Year for 2014.
"When a state designates a waterway for this honor, it also is saluting the communities, conservation groups and individual citizens all working for its improvement," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti. "They watched renovation replace retreat; embraced water-based hiking, biking and rail trails; and sought solutions to economies no longer supported by mills and factories."
A variety of on-water, shoreline and off-shore activities are planned June 7-13 along the Schuylkill as a paddling sojourn takes participants from river's headwaters in Schuylkill County into the Philadelphia city limits. That celebration is among at least a dozen planned on rivers and streams across the state during Pennsylvania Rivers Month.
"Promoting awareness of how these waterways have rebounded and their continuing conservation needs is the major goal of this month-long observance," Ferretti said. "There is a vital connection among the rivers and streams and area residents and visitors, and these sojourn and other activities planned by river advocates strengthens those bonds."
In support of that goal, Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed June as Rivers Month in Pennsylvania, the secretary noted. Highlighting the recreational and economic value of waterways, planned sojourns include:
"Stony-Kiski-Conemaugh rivers, beginning June 5; Perkiomen Creek, June 7; Lehigh River June 20; French Creek, June 21; Delaware River, June 22; Endless Mountains Heritage, June 26; Invisible River, July 7; Rising Nation River Journey, Aug. 1; West Branch, Susquehanna, Aug. 13; Ohiopyle Over The Falls, Aug.16; and Brodhead, Sept. 20.
For complete activity listings and details on other upcoming sojourns across the state, visit www.pawatersheds.org. The Schuylkill and other sojourn programs are coordinated by the Pa. Organization of Waterways and Rivers in partnership with DCNR, as well as dozens of local organizations.
Statewide annual paddling events encompass more than 500 river miles, span more than 50 on-the-water days, and engage more than 4,000 participants.
Since 1983, the River of the Year has been featured on posters sent to watershed organizations, local municipalities and interested individuals throughout the state to encourage a focus on Pennsylvania's waterways.
To learn more about DCNR's Rivers Program, visit http://dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/conservation/rivers/index.htm.
Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101
Editor's note: The text of Governor Tom Corbett's proclamation follows:
PROCLAMATION – RIVERS MONTH
WHEREAS, each year, Pennsylvania joins states across the nation in celebrating "Rivers Month" to emphasize the importance of all the Commonwealth's rivers. Events and activities scheduled for June reaffirm our commitment to the value and beauty of our river resources; and
WHEREAS, rivers flow through Pennsylvania's cities, towns and boroughs, providing an important natural and recreational asset to urbanized areas; and, they are a rich mosaic of water treasures providing opportunities for boating, fishing, bird watching and other recreational activities, as well as drinking water for millions of Pennsylvanians; and
WHEREAS, through protective and innovative actions such as the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation Program, the Coldwater Heritage Partnership Program, Pennsylvania Scenic Rivers Program and the River Towns Programs, Pennsylvanians join in promoting the conservation and revitalization of these precious water resources; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania's river initiatives are driven by voluntary partnerships with municipal officials, local groups, conservation organizations, and governmental agencies, to develop watershed conservation plans for restoring, maintaining and enhancing all rivers; and leading to the rebound of waterways such as the Schuylkill River -- Pennsylvania's 2014 River of the Year; and
WHEREAS, these Rivers Conservation Plans now encompass 65 percent of Pennsylvania thanks to funding and technical assistance from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Because of local partnership efforts and stewardship commitments 97 watersheds or corridors have gained approved Registry Status; and
WHEREAS, Conservation and appreciation of our river environments represent concepts of enduring consequence.
THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim June 2014 RIVERS MONTH. I urge all Pennsylvanians to reaffirm their commitment to protecting and conserving the quality of our river systems.
Tom Corbett, Governor
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources